Spacecraft Attitude Control Using Magnetic Actuators

A special issue of Aerospace (ISSN 2226-4310). This special issue belongs to the section "Astronautics & Space Science".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 November 2022) | Viewed by 13714

Special Issue Editor


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Guest Editor
School of Aerospace Engineering, Sapienza University of Rome, 00138 Roma, Italy
Interests: attitude control; spacecraft dynamics and control; nonlinear control

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Spacecraft attitude control can be obtained by adopting several actuation mechanisms. Among them, magnetic actuators are widely used for the generation of attitude control torques on satellites flying in low Earth orbits. The interest in such devices, also known as magnetorquers, is due to the following reasons: (i) they are simple, reliable, and low-cost; (ii) they need only renewable electrical power to be operated; (iii) using magnetorquers, it is possible to smoothly modulate the control torque so that unwanted couplings with flexible modes, which could harm pointing precision, are not induced; (iv) magnetorquers save system weight with respect to any other class of actuators. On the other hand, magnetorquers have the important limitation that control torque is constrained to belong to the plane orthogonal to the Earth’s magnetic field. As a result, different types of actuators usually accompany magnetorquers to provide full three-axis control. However, lately, attitude stabilization using only magnetorquers has been considered a feasible option especially for low-cost micro and nanosatellites and for satellites with a failure in the main attitude control system. In addition, magnetorquers are often used for detumbling purposes and for angular momentum dumping when reaction or momentum-bias wheels are employed for accurate attitude control.

This Special Issue is focused on recent advances in spacecraft attitude control using magnetorquers with a special interest in control algorithm design. Contributions with experimental or practical results are also very welcomed.

Prof. Dr. Fabio Celani
Guest Editor

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Published Papers (6 papers)

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Research

18 pages, 1707 KiB  
Article
Integrated Magnetic Management of Stored Angular Momentum in Autonomous Attitude Control Systems
by Andrea Colagrossi
Aerospace 2023, 10(2), 103; https://doi.org/10.3390/aerospace10020103 - 20 Jan 2023
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2087
Abstract
Autonomous spacecraft operations are at the front end of modern research interests, because they enable space missions that would not be viable only with ground control. The possibility to exploit onboard autonomy to deal with platform management and nominal housekeeping is thus beneficial [...] Read more.
Autonomous spacecraft operations are at the front end of modern research interests, because they enable space missions that would not be viable only with ground control. The possibility to exploit onboard autonomy to deal with platform management and nominal housekeeping is thus beneficial to realize complex space missions, which could then rely on ground support only for the mission-critical phases. One routine operation that most spacecraft must perform is stored angular momentum management to maintain fully usable momentum exchange actuators. The execution of this activity may be scheduled, commanded from the ground, or automatically triggered when certain thresholds are reached. However, autonomous angular momentum management may interfere with other primary spacecraft operations if executed with a dedicated and separate system mode. This paper presents the magnetic management of stored angular momentum, integrated with the main attitude control system. The system design and implementation are intended for autonomous spacecraft, and it can be operated without significant ground support. The paper describes the system architecture and the attitude control laws integrated with the magnetic angular momentum management. Specifically, the capability of the autonomous system to keep the internal angular momentum far from the saturation and far from the zero-crossing levels is highlighted. The performance of an example attitude control system with four reaction wheels and three magnetic torquers is presented and discussed, with the simulation results at model-in-the-loop (MIL) level. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Spacecraft Attitude Control Using Magnetic Actuators)
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27 pages, 1701 KiB  
Article
A Recursive Approach for Magnetic Field Estimation in Spacecraft Magnetic Attitude Control
by Mohammed A. A. Desouky and Ossama Abdelkhalik
Aerospace 2022, 9(12), 833; https://doi.org/10.3390/aerospace9120833 - 15 Dec 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1417
Abstract
This paper is concerned with magnetic attitude control of spacecraft. The operation of the magnetic actuators is usually on a duty cycle; during the off times in this duty cycle the magnetometers are used to measure the magnetic field around the spacecraft. This [...] Read more.
This paper is concerned with magnetic attitude control of spacecraft. The operation of the magnetic actuators is usually on a duty cycle; during the off times in this duty cycle the magnetometers are used to measure the magnetic field around the spacecraft. This alternate operation of magnetic actuators and sensors avoids the noise effect on the magnetometers coming from the magnetic actuators. This alternate operation results in longer maneuver times. This paper presents an estimation approach for the magnetic field, as well as the spacecraft attitude, that increases the duty cycle of the magnetic rods while reducing the rate of collecting the magnetometer data. A modified Multiplicative Extended Kalman Filter (MEKF) is used in the proposed approach. A relatively simple and fast dynamic model is developed for use in the MEKF. Monte Carlo simulations presented in this paper show that the proposed approach results in less maneuver time, and less power consumption by the magnetic rods when compared to a standard magnetic control approach. The magnetic field estimation process is verified using data collected from the CASSIOPE spacecraft using its telemetry system and the results are presented. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Spacecraft Attitude Control Using Magnetic Actuators)
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16 pages, 10006 KiB  
Article
Characterization and Testing of the Passive Magnetic Attitude Control System for the 3U AstroBio CubeSat
by Stefano Carletta, Augusto Nascetti, Sagar S. Gosikere Matadha, Lorenzo Iannascoli, Thiago Baratto de Albuquerque, Nithin Maipan Davis, Luigi Schirone, Gabriele Impresario, Simone Pirrotta and John R. Brucato
Aerospace 2022, 9(11), 723; https://doi.org/10.3390/aerospace9110723 - 17 Nov 2022
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1906
Abstract
AstroBio CubeSat is a mission funded by the Italian Space Agency aimed at validating novel lab-on-chip technology, that would enable the use of micro- and nanosatellites as autonomous orbiting laboratories for research in astrobiology. This 3U CubeSat is equipped with a passive magnetic [...] Read more.
AstroBio CubeSat is a mission funded by the Italian Space Agency aimed at validating novel lab-on-chip technology, that would enable the use of micro- and nanosatellites as autonomous orbiting laboratories for research in astrobiology. This 3U CubeSat is equipped with a passive magnetic attitude control system (PMACS), including permanent magnets and hysteresis strips, which allows for stabilizing the spacecraft with the longitudinal axis in the direction of the geomagnetic field vector. This work presents the process followed for the experimental characterization of the system, performed on the engineering unit of the satellite by using a Helmholtz cage facility and a spherical air-bearing to recreate environmental conditions similar to the ones experienced during the orbital motion. The hysteresis strips are characterized starting from the determination of the hysteresis loop, from which the energy dissipation per cycle and the apparent magnetic permeability are extracted. Tests performed by using the Helmholtz cage and the air-bearing facility allows for further investigating the damping torque produced by the PMACS and validating the abovementioned parameters. Numerical analysis is then used to select the number of permanent magnets which allows for achieving a pointing accuracy within an error of 10 within 24 h from the deployment. The analysis of the flight data supports the results obtained from the experimental test campaigns, confirming the effectiveness of the proposed methods and of the PMACS design. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Spacecraft Attitude Control Using Magnetic Actuators)
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17 pages, 2618 KiB  
Article
Asymptotic Motion of a Satellite under the Action of Sdot Magnetic Attitude Control
by Dmitry Roldugin, Stepan Tkachev and Mikhail Ovchinnikov
Aerospace 2022, 9(11), 639; https://doi.org/10.3390/aerospace9110639 - 24 Oct 2022
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 1042
Abstract
Satellite angular motion under the action of the Sdot one-axis magnetic control algorithm is analyzed. Sdot control stabilizes the maximum moment of inertia axis towards the Sun. Evolutionary equations that avoid singularity in the required position are derived. Linearization of equations is performed [...] Read more.
Satellite angular motion under the action of the Sdot one-axis magnetic control algorithm is analyzed. Sdot control stabilizes the maximum moment of inertia axis towards the Sun. Evolutionary equations that avoid singularity in the required position are derived. Linearization of equations is performed and new variables that describe the maximum moment of inertia axis oscillations amplitudes are introduced. The resulting equations are suitable for the averaging method application. Evolutionary equations for slow variables are solved. Simplified evolutionary expressions are verified with numerical simulation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Spacecraft Attitude Control Using Magnetic Actuators)
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14 pages, 3888 KiB  
Article
Attitude Stabilization of a Satellite Having Only Electromagnetic Actuation Using Oscillating Controls
by Rahul Misra, Rafał Wisniewski and Alexander Zuyev
Aerospace 2022, 9(8), 444; https://doi.org/10.3390/aerospace9080444 - 13 Aug 2022
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1482
Abstract
We consider the problem of attitude stabilization for a low Earth orbit satellite having only electromagnetic actuation. Such a satellite is not fully actuated, as the control torque is the cross-product of magnetic moment due to magnetorquers and the geomagnetic field. The aim [...] Read more.
We consider the problem of attitude stabilization for a low Earth orbit satellite having only electromagnetic actuation. Such a satellite is not fully actuated, as the control torque is the cross-product of magnetic moment due to magnetorquers and the geomagnetic field. The aim of this work is to study whether oscillating controls can be designed such that a satellite actuated via magnetorquers alone can achieve full three-axis control irrespective of the position of the satellite. To this end, we propose considering oscillating feedback controls which generate the motion of the closed-loop system in the direction of appropriate Lie brackets. Simulation studies show that the proposed control scheme is able to stabilize the considered system. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Spacecraft Attitude Control Using Magnetic Actuators)
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15 pages, 509 KiB  
Article
Quaternion versus Rotation Matrix Feedback for Spacecraft Attitude Stabilization Using Magnetorquers
by Fabio Celani
Aerospace 2022, 9(1), 24; https://doi.org/10.3390/aerospace9010024 - 04 Jan 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1960
Abstract
The purpose of this paper is to compare performances between stabilization algorithms of quaternion plus attitude rate feedback and rotation matrix plus attitude rate feedback for an Earth-pointing spacecraft with magnetorquers as the only torque actuators. From a mathematical point of view, an [...] Read more.
The purpose of this paper is to compare performances between stabilization algorithms of quaternion plus attitude rate feedback and rotation matrix plus attitude rate feedback for an Earth-pointing spacecraft with magnetorquers as the only torque actuators. From a mathematical point of view, an important difference between the two stabilizing laws is that only quaternion feedback can exhibit an undesired behavior known as the unwinding phenomenon. A numerical case study is considered, and two Monte Carlo campaigns are carried out: one in nominal conditions and one in perturbed conditions. It turns out that quaternion feedback compares more favorably in terms of the speed of convergence in both campaigns, and it requires less energy in perturbed conditions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Spacecraft Attitude Control Using Magnetic Actuators)
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